Thoughts on Bucket Lists and Twenty Again
JoAnne: Lists, in general, thrill me - yet I've never created a bucket list. Never even thought about making one, and at the moment, I feel very resistant to the idea. This bears consideration.
In Twenty Again, Cha Hyun-Suk and Ha No-Ra immediately clash as soon as they meet again after twenty years. She is delighted when she recognizes him - he is dumbstruck. And then, bottled-up feelings erupt and he turns into a jerk he actually isn't. No wonder she is very surprised about how much the "Cha" she knew has changed. That he has probably not changed so much is hinted at several times (first time when she sees him smile at his assistant and remarks that "his smile is still the same").
It's possible to be very serious about dimples. I have one. It is not on my face.
Oh man, am I serious about this man's dimples.
You are very selective, and have excellent taste.
Well-DyingBecause he treats her so badly, No-Ra curses him as jerk and draws angry cartoons. But there is an interesting encounter between them early in the drama that does not happen face-to-face (and therefore, does not lead to any childish fighting): it's when she hears him speak about "well dying" on that radio show, while she volunteers with the elderly.
This is a concept with a value that you really can't dispute. Could you have a life that was nothing that you wanted, and die happily? I suppose you could be happy to die, but you wouldn't die happy.
Bucket ListsI think that Ha No-Ra is unable to analyze her situation to the fullest at this point in time though. Yes, what she is feeling is immense regret when faced with her "wasted" life. But instead of digging deep enough to understand exactly what that regret entails, she comes up with a "quick-fix" bucket list that is both endearing and extremely one-dimensional at the same time. It shows just how deadening her life has been up to this point and what kind of emotional cripple she has become.
|It's time to cut your hair though, Lee Sang-yoon. Seriously.|
It's hard to imagine the life of a person who hasn't even done these small things, while clearly having the means and time to do them. It's even harder to imagine the mindset of a person who wouldn't have just DONE these things - with friends or their child, if the spouse wasn't willing. She had no friends? It's easier for me to imagine that these were things that hadn't happened in a long time, that she wished to experience again in her lifetime, but not necessarily for the very first time ever. No matter, though - that her dreams were so simple is touching and sad, which is the point here.
Think: Woo-Chul = monster.
I suppose that for a long time I assumed that this is what their marriage had become over the course of twenty years; not that this is what it always was. We are slowly seeing that it was always this way... but how? He certainly didn't object to her initially.
This gets tricky. It's possible to feel sad about what you give up, without regretting that you did give it up. What would she regret? Impulsively sleeping with Kim WooChul? Sure. Marrying him because she was pregnant? Raising the child with him? Well...I don't know. Would it have been better for her and the child to live in poverty (and shame) as a single parent family? There's no chance she'd have gone to school, let's be realistic. Should she have given Min Soo up for adoption? Perhaps that might have been best for both her and her baby, but a lot of people can't imagine it as an option. Abortion? Was that even available to her at the time? Would she have done that? How would she feel today about either of those choices? All that she can safely regret is that one hormonal night. Well, I guess she can also regret not being more of an advocate for herself for the past twenty years. That is the proper regret, I think. She had choices every step of the way, but for whatever reason, she was so submissive to her husband that she never even saw this as an option.
Ha! Interesting that you bring this up, because nothing like this ever crossed my mind. I don't think she has an inkling of regret with regards to her son. She loves him deeply - she is just sad they are not close. I don't even think she regrets Woo-Chul, all in all. No, from her bucket list, she regrets losing her friends and her grandma ... and not doing things she once cared for in all those years. Especially the latter was totally in her power to change. I think one of her problems is that she never had role models. She grew up with a (widowed?) grandma. She has strange ideas of what husband and wife are to each other (see her little speech to Cha when they eat the street food together: "A housewife shouldn't go out too much").
Don't make me think about this! I don't wanna!
"The whole point of creating your list is to maximize every moment of our existence and live our life to the fullest. It’s a reminder of all the things we want to achieve in our time here, so that instead of pandering our time in pointless activities, we are directing it fully toward what matters to us." (taken from Here)
You could of course go for quick fixes and fill your life with all those things that bring you joy now. But I would argue that a bucket list cannot be (solely) about fleeting things that bring you temporary joy. They're connected to how you live your life. Every day. They are about what kind of person you are and what you give to and take from your environment. A mere list will not do this justice. This is about changing your life, and this work will never be done.
See? I'm right not to have a list.
Regrets of the DyingBronnie Ware, a professional live-in carer for terminally ill patients, wrote a blog post in 2009 about the five most common Regrets of the Dying (this has since become a bestselling book). Reading them makes me cry every time. First, because knowing people leave this world full of regrets makes me incredibly sad. Second, because those regrets are so basic, and yet so fundamental. They are about love and being loved - the deepest yearnings of human beings.
Yes, on a personal note, the knowledge of those 5 Regrets has changed the way I live my life. And I'm pretty sure that writer-nim So Hyun-kyung knows about them as well, because they ALL apply to Ha No-Ra (and to some degree to Cha Hyun-Suk).
So I need to read this book, I suppose.
No 5) "I wish that I had let myself be happier"
"Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. ... Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."
Yeah, I'm good here. You, too, I think.
I'm very often very silly, yes. And I'm generally very happy.
No 4) "I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends"
"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks. ... Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. ... There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
I have lost touch with some people that I wish I had not, but it's not an overwhelming desire, just a 'gee, it would be nice...' and I do have very close friends that I spend time with regularly. You do, too, it seems.
I'm not sure. I really don't have many very close friends. My best friend (and soulmate) died very young and I have never been able to connect to somebody in a similar way. But I'm not lonely. And I think that is important.
I've never felt that one needed a LOT of friends to be happy. My circle is very small and I like it that way. I'm never lonely or bored by myself. I never have been. Well, 'never.' I'm sure I have been. It's just not common. And while I might not be lonely, I miss my daughter very much, living thousands of miles away. Okay, maybe that's a thing. I'd like to live in Portland, someday.
No 3) "I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings"
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result".
Truly not a problem for me. You?
Gawd, no. You should hear me and husband fight with each other.
No 2) "I wish I hadn't worked so hard"
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children's youth and their partner's companionship. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
Proud to say that I deliberately chose a different path because I became a single parent when Tori was about a year old. I was there for every event, I was able to chaperone, teach classes, throw parties, know her friends, spend time with her. The trade-off, of course, is that it was financially difficult for a very long time! Along the way, work became very much the way in which I provide for my life, rather than the way in which I define it. So now even with the time and more money, I feel no pull for great professional development strides - instead, I become more curious about personal pursuits every day.
This is something I keep an eye on carefully. Every day, I try to get the balance between family, work, and personal time right. Not every day is a success.
As long as it's not always the same category that loses, I don't think it's an issue.
No 1) "I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me"
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made."
I wonder, sometimes. I don't ever really second guess myself. I make a decision, I act on it, I don't look back and wonder 'what if', I just accept whatever 'now' is, and move forward. Detours have been the best thing to ever happen to me, often. But will I feel this way when I die? I have always assumed I would, and thus I'd have no regrets. What is the point of regret? You cannot go back and change things. It is wasted, pointless, useless, self-indulgent. But now you make me wonder if I will feel that way, after all.
"You do exactly what you want to do", says husband. He admires that in me even if he sometimes does not like it. He, by the way, does exactly what he wants to do, too!
|newest item on my bucket list: Dimple hunting! |
Live well, people. It's worth it.
Can't argue with that.
Anything you want to share from your bucket list if you have one?
I do have one (kind of - in my head). That's why I bought myself drums this years. Cause I always wanted to learn how to play the drums. It's among the best things that happened to me this year!
I don't really have a list. There are lots of things I'd like to do, and when the opportunity presents itself to me, if I'm still interested, I take it. I don't have any particular 'goals' I'm working toward, in that regard. I live my life every day. Maybe I'm so ingrained in putting things off that I don't even see it happening? Damn you, Kakashi.
And You, Dear Readers?